Volume 27 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
November/December 2010

Articles in This Issue
A Message From The Chair
Fort Worden, 2010
Membership Renewal
Sirens Writers Conference
Old Apple Tree Festival
Calendar of Events
Fraser & Smith Rock the Hall in Portland Concert
A Message From The Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis

I'm writing this just three days after the SwWaS Branch Ghostly Gala. I'm still smiling. It was a wonderful event, with lots of good music, (thank you Cynthia and Alex!), and excellent camaraderie, with intermediate dancers taking great care so that all the beginning dancers felt comfortable and included. It was just a whole lot of fun! Thank you again, Rebecca, for stepping up to chair the event!

Ghostly 'Gallery'

The weekend prior to our annual Fall Dance, I attended the St. Giles Workshop and Ball in Calgary, Alberta. Also fun. They made us feel very welcome, and by the time we had danced all day with our new friends, well, it seems like we always run out of dances at the Ball before I run out of people I'd like to dance with.

A Zombie Tries to Thrill Our World

The weekend prior to that, was the Portland Branch first Social Dance of the season (and the Bend, OR Workshop and Ball, which, unfortunately no one got to go to both). Inserted into all this Scottish country dancing, of course, was me frantically trying to learn the Thrill the World dance so I could join the fun earlier in the day, Saturday (the 23rd) dancing with about 400 other 'zombies' in Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. Based on the look on my face in the YouTube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st-Rq_pNyJU I wasn't a completely confident zombie. But I did have to laugh when someone at the Ghostly Gala asked if I was getting enough dancing. I guess the answer was YES!, and it makes me very happy.

How unfortunate that so many people never get to understand the joy of dancing - especially Scottish country dancing, where so much brain power is involved. Class attendance in Southwest Washington is still down. The classes in Longview/Kelso, Battleground, and Vancouver Eastside didn't get enough interest to get them started. All will try again at the next opportunity, of course. And I hope everyone can help us out. I really think word of mouth is the best way to get people to try out a class. So here's my recruitment scheme for the coming months . . .

Forging Relationships

There is an excellent article published in the latest Scottish Country Dancer magazine about how Scottish country dancing is good for you. Everyone, including you(!) should copy this article and take it to your doctors and dentists offices. Make them read it. Try to get them to come to a class. Suggest to them that they should prescribe Scottish country dancing to their patients for physical and mental well-being. You may also want to suggest to them that overweight and unhealthy-looking health professionals make the rest of us suspicious of their medical advice, but I'll leave that up to you.

If you don't feel this would work with your particular doctor or dentist, at least try to bring a friend along to class. If you can't find a copy of the article, I'm sure I can hook you up with one.

Dreary weather is the best time for dancing. Bring friends. See you on the dance floor.

PS - The Hogmanay Tea Dance (replacing the Betwixt and Between Dance for this year) will be held on January 1st, 2011. This is a combined event with the Portland Branch. If anyone would like to chair or co-chair this event, please let me know.

Membership Renewal
by Liza Halpenny

It is never too late to join our branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, or to become a local Associate (to support the group and receive the newsletter). Ask your teacher for a membership form, or email the Membership Chairman, Liza, at . NOTE: This will be the last newsletter for those who have not yet renewed.

Old Apple Tree Festival
by Liza Halpenny
Us Playing!
Them Watching Us Play!

On October 2nd, eleven local dancers performed at the Old Apple Tree Festival. The celebration is held at Old Apple Tree Park, home of the nearly- 200-year old tree, at the end of the land bridge crossing Hwy 14 from Ft. Vancouver. Although the day started out cool and cloudy, it broke into glorious sunshine in time for our performance. All the dancers did a great job with lots of joy. Audience members took time out from sampling apple treats and learning about native plants to enjoy our performance. Then a large number of them enthusiastically joined us for audience participation dances. It was fun to see old friends and meet new ones, and we look forward to doing this performance again in the future.

Fraser & Smith Rock the Hall in Portland Concert
by Tom Halpenny

Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith performed a high energy concert of fiddle and piano music September 11 at the Community Music Center in Portland. They played many tunes familiar to the Scottish Country Dance community, as well as tunes from their latest CD, like "Duddingston Castle" and "Roaring Barmaid".


The musicians interjected stories between playing tunes and gave a sense of their love for playing music. Catherine enjoys leading fiddle camp workshops for youth like a recent event in New Zealand. She was seen jamming in the stairwell during another crowded USA workshop. They are looking forward to an upcoming gig in Japan. Catherine loves exploring the origins of Scottish fiddle music and has a considerable collection of material to aid her research and musical arrangements.

The musicians were very friendly and approachable. Something almost as fun as the concert itself was a conversation I had with Duncan during intermission. Duncan and Catherine are good friends with Barbara and Robert McOwen of Boston. Barbara is also a fiddler and Robert is a musician and Scottish Dancer. Duncan was a founding member of a Scottish fiddle band that Robert formed in San Francisco during the 1980's to play for Scottish Country Dances. Like Robert, Duncan also moved to Boston, and Duncan then emigrated to Australia in 1992. I related that Robert was a classmate in my Harvey Mudd College class of 1973 and that we discovered our mutual interest in Scottish Dance at the 30-year Reunion in 2003.

Catherine and Duncan completed a tour of U.S. cities in Portland before returning to Australia. They currently play 70 percent concerts and 30 percent Scottish Dances. If you missed the Portland concert, you can visit http://www.catherinefraser.com to learn more about the musicians and their music. We can listen to a sample of the Chorus Jig: http://www.catherinefraser.com/Assets/Chorus.mp3

Fort Worden, 2010
by John Shaw

The Seattle Branch of the RSCDS has been holding a weekend workshop and Ball event at Fort Worden State Park for the past 36 years. As their website says, this workshop "has become a well known Northwest dancing event. Inspiring musicians and teachers are brought here from afar to support and refine our dancing skills and provide us with some of the best Scottish music for dancing..."

This past September, Vancouver/Portland dancers Deb Rahls, Linda Mae Dennis, Sarah McQueen, Rebecca and Kate Mintz, and John and Susan Shaw carpooled up to Fort Worden to join in this year's festivities. We left Friday morning and enjoyed a leisurely trip up the western shore of the Hood Canal, stopping occasionally for lunch or to enjoy the natural beauty of the Olympic peninsula. We arrived in plenty of time to register, unpack, and make a nice dinner together in our lodgings, before heading off to the Friday night dance.

There were three musicians that Friday evening: Ryan and Cali McKasson (on fiddle and keyboard, respectively), and Ginny Snowe on bass. The music was wonderful! Beautiful! The perfect tempo! The dancing, the oh-so-many friends, and the great music made it the ideal dance experience. After the first dance, Susan leaned over to me, wearing a huge smile, and said, "We have GOT to do this every year!"

Gonna Have Fun!

One of the dances that evening was Seann Truibhas Willichan, which we danced in 3-couple sets, which would have required 6-times-through music. It was communicated to the musicians, however, as 3-times-through music. So, when they concluded the music after 3 times, the ruckus from the floor told them to keep playing, which they did, ONE more time! More ruckus from the floor, and they started playing again... but then they started playing, too, with the dancers, like slowing down and pretending to stop after 24 bars, oops, then after another 12 bars, oops, and so on. We dancers got the joke, laughed, and danced some more. At the end, the dancers and the musicians all laughed and clapped together. I think we repeated that dance, as we did many dances that night.

It was a thoroughly delightful evening.

After breakfast, we headed off to our workshop classes. My first class: Irish Ceili dancing, taught by Sharon Barker - a 90 minute crash course in Irish dancing, and very well presented. (It does one good to be demoted to "beginner" every now and then!)

Happy Sisters

Next class: San Francisco Treats, taught by Tim Wilson (the devisor of Linnea's Strathspey!). He taught us three or four dances devised by teachers and dancers of the San Francisco area, ending with The Merry Lad's Affair, which was the dance composition competition winner for our Just Desserts book of dances. Tim Wilson has a great classroom manner, and is a very good teacher.

After a quick lunch at the house, my third class was The Fiddle, taught by Gordon Robinson, a teacher and fellow candidate in Liza's first candidate class. He went over the history of Scottish fiddle music, with examples played by Calum McKinnon; and we danced about 3 dances to exemplify the tunes.

Back at the house, we had a wee rest. After a modest supper, we got cleaned up and duded up, and we all headed off to the Ball in Ericson hall.

It was another excellent evening of dancing. The musicians that night were fiddlers Calum McKinnon and Ryan McKasson, pianist Lisa Scott, and Ginny Snowe on bass. Like the night before, the music was fantastic, and the dancers asked for (and musicians graciously complied with) many repeats of the dances.

After breakfast, we packed up, cleaned up the house, and loaded up the cars. We checked out at Ericson hall, watched the final combined Sunday class, said our many good-byes, and headed south. We stopped at Potlatch State Park again for lunch. Rebecca and Kate, upon getting out of the car, were surprised at their near-crippled states of stiffness, and couldn't stop laughing at themselves or the rest of us. We all laughed, and gingerly took our lunch break.

We were home again by late afternoon, exhausted by quite satisfied with the course of the weekend.

Sirens Writers Conference
by Rebecca Mintz

Sirens is an annual conference about women writers in the fantasy genre. What, you may ask, does this have to do with Scottish Country Dancing? Well, Sirens has a ball on the last night and on the crowded dance floor in 2009, I thought This is a group that would enjoy SCD. So for Sirens 2010, I proposed to teach a crash course in Scottish Country Dance. Fortunately, I was right: Sirens attendees do like SCD. Fifteen eager women came to the class, immediately putting on the "man bands" I had brought and taking a partner. The participants were fearless and willing to try everything as they learned the Progressive Gay Gordons, a Reel for Jeannie and Trip to Gatlinburg, all in an hour and a half. And they were undaunted by the challenges of dancing at 8,000 feet; Sirens is held in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, where going up a flight of stairs can leave you slightly breathless. But with frequent breaks, we had a lovely time. Later that evening, at the closing ball, when Scottish Country Dance music came on, many of them eagerly grabbed partners (not all of whom had come to the class) and danced the Gay Gordons and a Reel for Jeannie again. Sirens attendees come from all over the United States, so hopefully at least some of them will look up their local Scottish Country Dance groups.

For more information on Sirens, please visit their website at www.sirensconference.org.


Calendar of Events

Nov 13: Portland Monthly Dance
7:30 pm. at Hope Community Church, 14790 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
This is the night of the Bizarre Bazaar!
Live music provided by Scottish Rose!
The Program:
Espie McNabb          BJ  MMMI
Wisp of Thistle       IS  Bk 37
On the Quarter Deck   BR  Boyd
Roaring Jelly        BIJ  Foss
Saint John River      BS  New Burnswick Col.
The Irish Rover       IR  Cosh

The Machine Without Horses  BJ  Bk 12
The Birks of Invermay       BS  Bk 16
The Music Makars            IR  Bk 33
The Cranberry Tart          IJ  Glasspool
Autumn in Appin             IS  Bk 31
Round Reel of Eight         BR  Bk 27
Dec 11: Portland Monthly Dance
7:30 pm. at Hope Community Church, 14790 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.
The Program (not necessarily in order):
Round Reel of Eight         BR  Bk 27
De'il Amang the Tailors     BR  Bk 14
The Irish Rover             IR  Cosh
Pigeon on the Gate          IR  Dunedin Dances, Bk 2
The Machine Without Horses  BJ  Bk 12
Corn Rigs                   BJ  Bk 4
The Cranberry Tart          IJ  Glasspool
The New Rigged Ship         IJ  Bk 9
The Birks of Invermay       BS  Bk 16
Granville Market            BS  Vandegrift
Autumn in Appin             IS  Bk 31
Miss Gibson's Strathspey    IS  Leaflets (1987)
January 1, 2011: Hogmanay Social
Dancing! Music! Games!
Scroll presentation 1:30 PM
Dancing at 2 PM
More information soon! See LindaMae for more immediate details.
Mar 12, 2011: Portland 32nd Annual Workshop & Ball
Masonic Friendship Center in NE Portland. More details as they emerge.
Apr 30, 2011: Second Annual Dinner Dance
"Sunshine and Daisies" at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in Vancouver, WA

  Do you have an item of Celtic interest you would like to see in print?  
  You can contact me in any of the following ways:  
  By mail:  

  Martin MacKenzie
  10701 SE Hwy 212 C-7
  Clackamas, Or 97015

  By email:  

  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact Martin MacKenzie, 10701 SE Hwy 212 C-7 Clackamas, Or 97015, . The editor reserves the right to alter or edit any material submitted for publication for reasons of taste, style, or clarity. All materials for publication should be sent by email to the editor at the address above, preferably in straight text. Deadline is one week before the end of the month prior to publication date. Editors of other newsletters may use or adapt any materials in the Scottish Country Dancer unless a specific copyright notice is included. Please credit author and original source.

"All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing." Moliere (1622-1673)

Generated Sunday October 31, 2010